I’ve spoken before about how challenging meditation has been for me. Part of me wants to still my mind but the mind hates that! What a lot of meditation resources leave out is the fact that it is really hard work. Stilling the mind, ceasing thoughts for even a single moment, is enormously challenging.
If you’re trying meditation you should know that it isn’t easy. But you should also know that there are things that could make it a little easier. Such as practicing a style of meditation that speaks to you.
For me my experience of meditation changed enormously when I stopped using the mantra I was initiated with (TM-style). I had never really connected to it. It was the mantra that we all used in SES. I had longed to know the secret magic word for years but when I finally got it, it was a let down. The mantra was a single syllable, which I found difficult. My brain would trip over it. My issues with the mantra caused me to give up completely on meditation.
A few weeks before we went to India this most recent time I started trying a new mantra. I wasn’t initiated with it. I wasn’t given it. But I just started meditating on Om Namah Shivaya.
It was a completely different experience. The rhythm of it worked for me, I feel more connected to Shiva than my Rama-based previous mantra. It just really clicked. This didn’t make meditation easy, but it made it enjoyable. It’s still hard for me to sit down and actually do it like I know I should, but when I do it feels good. While in India I found the mantra “stuck in my head” like a song. It was almost continuously in the background of everything I did.
For the first time I really felt and understood the value in meditation and I really do think it is the key to everything.In India I was surprised to discover that Shiva is the primary God of my Advaita Guru. And I also found out that the people in my parents’ group had gotten a new mantra too. It was also Shiva-based!
And though I haven’t updated the book club for a while, the next section of Eat Pray Love, Gilbert talks about how challenging her mantra is. It doesn’t seem to fit the rhythm of her breath. It doesn’t flow. Know what her mantra is? Om Namah Shivaya! Really goes to show that different things work for different people.
On a different subject, I missed the Holi celebration. Because we have such bad weather around Holi time, the temple that puts on the event had it April 10 and 11. I was signed up to go yesterday, Sunday the 11th. I could have done it too. I wasn’t scheduled to work until the evening. But with coming back from the trip to MA, I just forgot that was this weekend.
I saw a girl in the grocery store covered in color and that’s when I remembered. Far too late.
I feel quite down about this. In the last seven years I don’t think I have ever missed celebrating Holi. I’ve done it in California and Arkansas and Maryland. It’s hardly the most important holiday but I really enjoy it and I’m very sad that I missed it.